175 kilometers. Almost all uphill.
My son, Justin, and I had spent two days bicycling from Princeton, up to the Coquihalla Summit. For the most part, the trail was washboard gravel that rose steadily upwards. Then there was the 25 kilometers that strayed onto a gas pipeline. 25 kilometers of pushing our bikes up steep hills and then bouncing back down.
Grueling doesn’t even cut it.
By that second night, I was so done in. I had gone through over four litres of water, my legs were cramped up, and I had blisters in places you should never get blisters. In fact, I was so done, that I caved in and rented a cabin instead of dealing with another night of back-country camping—a VERY rustic cabin. You may wonder if this was cheating a little, until you understand what I endured that second night.
The cabin had two cots, a wood burning stove and no running water. Instead, there was an outhouse just a little ways from the cabin. The outhouse sat on an angle as it had settled over the years, and we were reminded to,“put that brick back on the seat when you’re done. You don’t want some critter trying to crawl back out when you sit down.”
As we were riding back down to Hope (hooray for downhill), I could stop sweating and think about why we undertook this trip. Yes, we wanted some quality father-son bonding time, and yes, we wanted to see and experience some incredible scenery. But, just as important for both of us was a desire to say that we had done it; we had ridden Princeton to Hope via the Coquihalla summit.
In the end, we endured bumpy trails and the subsequent bruised back-sides. We persevered and survived, even if I cheated a little with the cabin rental.
Perseverance. Determination. GRIT.
These character traits are critical for children to succeed (and perhaps the principal as well). That’s something we’ve talked a lot about in our middle school. Many character education programs include attempts to teach our students life-skills including grit. And so we hope to incorporate intentional lessons that teach perseverance this year.
Hmmm…I wonder if any students are up for a bit of a bike ride.